Sinbad Unloads on Hillary Clinton
Finally, the Barack Obama campaign has found a big gun
to help shoot down Hillary Rodham Clinton's
self-proclaimed foreign policy experience. And he may
be the wackiest gun of all: Sinbad, the actor, who has
come out from under a rock to defend Obama in the war
over foreign policy credentials.
Sinbad, along with singer Sheryl Crow, was on that
1996 trip to Bosnia that Clinton has described as a
harrowing international experience that makes her
tested and ready to answer a 3 a.m. phone call at the
White House on day one, a claim for which she's taking
much grief on the campaign trail.
Harrowing? Not that Sinbad recalls. He just remembers
it being a USO tour to buck up the troops amid a much
worse situation than he had imagined between the
Bosnians and Serbs.
In an interview with the Sleuth Monday, he said the
"scariest" part of the trip was wondering where he'd
eat next. "I think the only 'red-phone' moment was:
'Do we eat here or at the next place.'"
Clinton, during a late December campaign appearance in
Iowa, described a hair-raising corkscrew landing in
war-torn Bosnia, a trip she took with her then-teenage
daughter, Chelsea. "They said there might be sniper
fire," Clinton said.
Threat of bullets? Sinbad doesn't remember that,
"I never felt that I was in a dangerous position. I
never felt being in a sense of peril, or 'Oh, God, I
hope I'm going to be OK when I get out of this
helicopter or when I get out of his tank.'"
In her Iowa stump speech, Clinton also said, "We used
to say in the White House that if a place is too
dangerous, too small or too poor, send the First
Say what? As Sinbad put it: "What kind of president
would say, 'Hey, man, I can't go 'cause I might get
shot so I'm going to send my wife...oh, and take a
guitar player and a comedian with you.'"
As you may have guessed by now, Sinbad isn't
supporting Clinton for president. He's an Obama guy.
All because of Clinton.
"What got me about Hillary was her attitude of
entitlement, like he messed up her plan, like he had
no reason to be there," Sinbad said. "I got angry. I
actually got angry! I said, 'I will be for Obama like
But he's less ticked off with the Clinton campaign
than he is with Saturday Night Live for its
Hillary-loving sketches that portray Obama as an
unqualified nervous Nelly. What really bothers him is
SNL's choice of actor (Fred Armisen) to play Obama.
"My problem is -- you couldn't just temporarily hire a
black man to play Obama? You had to put a white man in
a black face? You couldn't find a light-skinned
brother to play Obama?"
The Clinton campaign doesn't seem amused by Sinbad's
commentary or his recollection of the 1996 Bosnia trip
as more depressing than harrowing.
Defending Clinton's characterization of her Bosnia
mission, campaign spokesman Phil Singer kindly
provided experts from news stories written about the
trip at the time, including a Washington Post story
from May 26, 1996, that said, "This trip to Bosnia
marks the first time since Roosevelt that a first lady
has voyaged to a potential combat zone."
Singer also cited a Kansas City Star article from
September 2000 that quoted Sinbad as describing the
situation in Bosnia as "so tense. It was Crips and
Bloods." (And that's how Sinbad continued to
characterize the situation in our interview Monday. He
said, "At the time, we didn't realize how crazy it was
between the Bosnians and the Serbs. I didn't realize
how much hate was going on.")
Still, defending Clinton against Sinbad the refuter,
Singer said, "The sad reality of what was going on in
Bosnia at the time Senator Clinton traveled there as
first lady has been well documented. It appears that
Sinbad's experience in Bosnia goes back further than
Senator Obama's does. In fact, has Senator Obama ever
been to Bosnia?"
By Mary Ann Akers | March 11, 2008; 1:14 PM ET